By: Cody Bell

The Beginning of NASCAR

The Beginning of NASCAR is tied back to bootleg alcohol, otherwise known as moonshine. Back in the prohibition era, local moonshiners had to modify their everyday street car to be able to haul heavy and unstable loads and yet be able to outrun the law if found. The cars they used had to look stock and not stand out when hauling the bootleg liquor. (Houston,1) People at the time were poor and wanted a alcohol because prohibition was in full swing, so you couldn't just go to the local bar or buy it at the store. So people turned to moonshine. Because the people were willing to take the risk and make it to make money for themselves but if caught you got the book thrown at you big time. So moonshiners started to soup-up their cars in order to outrun the police at any cost. (Auto Foundry, 2-5) Early moonshiners used the Tin Lizzy or otherwise known as the Model T Ford. They used this car because the everyday Joe could afford one and 3 out of 4 cars on the road at the time was the model T so it was easy to blend in with traffic. But most people when they think of bootleggers they think of the 1936-1940 Ford V8 coupe. This was the ultimate moonshiners dream at the time because they were cheap and already had a lot of horsepower because they were the first V8 put in a stock everyday commuter car. The average Ford Flathead V8 at the time put out an average of 140 hp and at the time there were a lot of people who could get more horsepower out of these already hug engines. The way people would do this by boring, stroking out the cylinders. They also added better performance parts like cams and bigger carburetors. They would even swap these engines out for supercharged V8 Cadillac ambulance engine. These already hard t catch cars became even harder to catch. (Auto Foundery, 2-5) These guy’s became so bored whooping the local police that they started challenging each other. These races grew bigger and attracted local fans. People began promoting their business on the side of these cars and holding races in there name. But once the local law found out they raced out there to catch as many of these men as possible. So towns started to build race tracks and making it legal. One of these local racers became a household name as soon as NASCAR got it’s starts. Junior Johnson he started his NASCAR career hear running moonshine and competing on local tracks. He remembers his beginning, “It gave me so much of a advantage over other people that had to train and learn how to drive” (Junior Johnson). During his time the every day Joe could just show up with his family and family car and go racing. Later on one of the rules is that the cars they ran had be factory stock with minor adjustments for safety. When the manufacturers caught wind of this, bigger and faster cars started coming off the assembly line for racers to buy and go racing the next day. This is when the big three ( Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge) started competing with each other to come out with the biggest and fastest car to outdo each other at the race track. Now people could go to the racetrack and root for the cars they own themselves.

Greene, Andrew. "Our Favorite Moonshine Cars of All Time." AutoFoundry., 2013. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.


Houston, Rick. "NASCAR's Earliest Days Forever Connected to Bootlegging." NASCAR's Earliest Days Forever Connected to Bootlegging. NASCAR, 01 Nov. 2012. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.

How the Daytona 500 started

It started with a guy named Ransom E. Olds in the year 1903 when he was vacationing at Ormond Beach, Florida. He was admiring the hard packed and cool sand. He liked the hard compacted sand because it didn’t create a dust cloud and was relatively flat. Because the average road at the time was made for the horse drawn wagon at the time. He also liked the cool sand because the tires wouldn’t heat up and burst under pressure when the tires were hot. (Roe, 2)

On March 28, 1903 a match race between Olds and Alex Winton took place. It quickly became the talk of the town. (Roe,2) The race consisted of a 1 mile straight line track down the beach. At the pop of a gun Mr. Olds driver was the first off the line he got 50 yds ahead of Winton before he even got going. Olds car got up to speeds of up to 50 mph which was unheard of at the time. But at the end of the track Winton flashed by Olds just in time to win the race by 1/5 of a second. After news spread about this amazing race people flocked to Daytona to race there new automobiles. One of these was Henry Segrave a WWI major. His nickname was the Mad Major, he drove the car named the Golden Arrow. His car had two 500 hp V 12 airplane engines. His car crushed down the track at 203 mph. He became the first driver to break the 200mph mark. (Roe,3)

In 1935 a person by the name of Brit Sir Malcolm Campbell migrated to Daytona from Britain. He came with a car named Bluebird. This car was outfitted with a 2,500 hp Rolls Royce Aircraft engine he booked down the track at 330 mph. He became the first driver to break the 300 mph mark. (Roe, 4)

The Oval

The city of Daytona was determined to keep race fans so they constructed a half dirt half asphalt. The also constructed and other seating places along the side of the track so onlookers could view larger portions of the track. They held races there every Sunday after church. They invited anyone with a neck for speed and a factory stock car. NASCAR hall of famer Richard Petty remembers these days from his childhood about his dad also a hall of famer Lee Petty. “My dad and myself, my mom and brother, would get in the family car to go to the races,” he said. “On the way we would stop at a Texaco station to put the car on the rack. We changed the oil, Checked the tire pressures, took the mufflers off and hubcaps, and put a number on and all of a sudden it was a race car.” (Richard Petty). In the year 1957 they started construction on the Daytona International Speedway. This race track consisted of two, thirty one degree banked corners and a 3,000 ft long backstretch. The Stage was set for the Great American Race and countless photo finishes. (Roe, 5)

Pimm, Nancy Roe. The Daytona 500: The Thrill and Thunder of the Great American Race. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook, 2011. Print.

Photo Finish

Lee Petty (No. 42) and Johnny Beauchamp (No. 73) race to the finish line in the first Daytona 500 in 1959. With Weatherly two laps down,

Daytona Beach racing

In this photo lots of cars showed up for this event when they had the half dirt half asphalt track still going on the beach.

Safety through the years

The first racecars consisted of maybe a seat and seat belt. Many early racers used their belts off their pants to hold themselves in their cars while racing. They didn't have roll bars as well, which is suppose to help keep the driver from getting trapped in case of an accident. One of NASCAR’s technical directors before his death in 2008 stated, “Every era can be defined by the safety improvements made during that period”. (Steve Peterson 14). In the 40’s, the crash helmet was mandated for race car drivers. ( The design was called the Cornwall. They basically looked away like a hard hat attached over the ears and under the chin with a leather strap. NASCAR hall of famer Ned Jarrett say’s it better, “At the time, we felt like it was the state of the art helmet because it was all you could get” (Ned Jarrett). In the 50’s a standardized seat belt was mandated for all race car drivers. This is because when drivers got in a wreck they would get ejected from the car if not properly strapped in. ( In the 60’s the roll cage was introduced to NASCAR. This was because in prior cases, a driver could get trapped in the car due to bent and misplaced metal not allowing the driver to escape. In most cases NASCAR track crews would have to cut the roof off the car. It would help keep the roof in it’s general shape allowing the driver to escape uninjured. If you car flipped the roof would cave in and close off the exit points on the vehicle and most of the time the car would catch fire because oil and fuel would ignite do to hot moving parts giving off spark. Also introduced to NASCAR in the 60’s was the fuel cell. This was because just about every wreck there would be fire because the fuel tank would get punctured and spill fuel all over the track. The fuel cell was made with a very hard plastic much like what cars today use. They also set it inside the car where it is not exposed to the bending metal outside the car and seal it up so sparks couldn't ignite the fuel inside.

Aumann, Mark. "Safety Improvements, Changes Define Racing Eras." Safety Improvements, Changes Define Racing Eras. NASCAR, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.

This is why the put seat belts and roll cages

Matt Kenseth

The two states with the most successful race car drivers are North Carolina and Wisconsin. Here is one of Wisconsin's success stories. The guy I am going to talk about is Matt Kenseth. Kenseth was born in Cambridge, WI. He started his racing career at La Crosse Interstate Fairground Speedway. He raced late models at the age of 16, winning his first late model feature in his 3rd race ever. He was competing against drivers like Ted Musgrave, Rich Bickle, and the late Dick Trickle. These 3 drivers also grew up racing here and at the time they also raced in NASCAR’s highest racing stage. In 1995 he won track title and had successful runs in NASCAR's All Pro series. In 1996 and 1997 he competed and won many ASA series. In 1997 Kenseth got his big break, he got a call from another local driver Robbie Reiser. He asked Kenseth to drive for is team in NASCAR’s Nationwide series. And after two years in Nationwide he got a ride with Roush Fenway Racing to drive in the top series of Nascar. In 2003 he won a championship and 2009 and 2012 he won the Daytona 500, and is on his way this year to winning another championship.

"Roush Fenway." Racing. Roush Fenway Racing, 3 May 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2013.

Matt Kenseth's new ride for this year

The Fans of NASCAR

People like NASCAR because they like watching the crashes. But many people say that when there is a long green flag it is boring because all they do is make a left turn. Well for many people on the roads they have a hard time making left turns. But there is a lot of skill that those guy’s have to turn those cars at high speeds with positive G forces pulling on you as well. They also have to have to do it for 300 miles each race but they don’t see all the practices they go threw. But back to the crashes most people like watching the Daytona races and the Talladega races because they generally have the biggest crashes. This is because on those tracks they hardly ever use the brakes so they make them as small as possible to cut back on weight so they can add it somewhere else. They also happen there because the tracks himself are relatively very fast pace racing because you can go as fast as you want on those tracks because they are so huge and wide. They also do a lot of 6-5 wide racing there so if one of those drivers make a mistake it is like a domino effect and takes out a lot of the cars because they race so close together.